5 unusual bike lights

I’m a reasonable cyclist. And, like most fellow reasonable cyclists, I’ve come to the conclusion that not all drivers in London eat an enormous amount of carrots. Therefore, I doubt they have night vision goggle-esque vision. Therefore, through my scientific reasoning, I’ve equipped my bike with a set of bike lights. The Knog Boomer and the Knog Skink. However, it can’t harm to have additional lighting.

For that I could make worse decisions than look at the below 4 unusual bike lights.

Valve bike light

Valve bike lights

I originally spotted these in Tokyo and was pleased to see they are also on sale from Amazon UK. Unfortunately, they don’t work with Presta valve types but with a bit of DIY ingenuity they could be glued to the caps. The reviews posted here have been very positive but do state that you’ll have to pedal pretty fast to get a continuous stream of light.

Bike glow

A dark bike is illuminated by christmas tree style lights

The Bike Glow bike lights ($25) wrap around your bike for side visibility. They provide that quintessential Christmas bike look. For more see the Bike Glow website. According to the manufacturer they are completely waterproof and should last 120 hours in flashing mode. They can be purchased from REI.

Knog Boomer Wearable

The Knog boomer bike light attached to a green messenger bag

This is one of the latest lights from Knog. I’ve been testing it for the past few months and will be giving my thoughts soon. However, so far, it’s proved a good little addition to the arsenal of lights and one that I’ve found quite easy to position.

The Knog Wearable Boomer has two ways of attachment. It can either be done using the clip or the magnet. In practise, I’ve not found the magnet particularly reliable. All it takes is a big pothole and it’ll rattle loose. However, the clip has been very secure and in my tests I’ve not had it fly off my bag or clothing. Considering the range of mounting options this could be a very good addition to any cyclist looking for extra visibility. The light emitted is very bright and comparable to that of my light attached to my seat post.

The Knog Wearable Boomer is available from Amazon for £18.03 or Wiggle for £18.44.

Bar end lights

bar-end-light

Bar end lights, such as this one listed on Amazon, are a good way to get some supplementary light from the two bike lights typically found on a bike. They’ll fit on road bike style drop bars.

Fibre Flare

Fibre flare bike light product shot

Our final unusual bike light is probably one you’ve already heard of. The Fibre Flare. This bike light has been praised for its excellent 360 degree visibility and range of mounting options. I’ve heard of quite a few cyclists starting to use it and I plan on making it an addition to my bike soon (As well as reviewing it for London Cyclist). The Fibre Flare is available from Wiggle.

If there’s any unusual bike lights I’ve missed out then please do post a comment below..

Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

27 Responses to 5 unusual bike lights

  1. Alice 19/11/2011 at 9:02 am #

    I reckon the most effective way is a single and very bright flashing light (a front light and a tail one). Yeah, having more lighting systems on wheels, frame, backpack etc. does not harm, but I want to ride a bike, not a Christmas tree. My favorite make is Cat-eye, expensive but very very effective. Oh by the way, what happened to Nicole?! I used to enjoy her posts too. All the best, Ali.

    • KM 25/11/2011 at 12:27 am #

      What’s wrong with riding a Christmas tree. Now you’ve made that my ambition….heading out to acquire as many tasteless lights as I can for my 2 wheels! Whee! Bring on Christmas. :-)

      • Alice 28/11/2011 at 7:16 pm #

        nothing wrong with riding a christmas tree – i just don’t want to ride one.

    • Jason 22/11/2012 at 11:44 am #

      Most people recommend 2 lights front and back – one flashing to get attention, one steady so people can gauge your speed.

      Plus you have back up in case one fails or runs out of batteries during your ride (seems to happen a lot from the amount of bikes with lights turned off I see in london)

  2. Andreas 19/11/2011 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks for the comment Alice – unfortunately I’ve lost track of Nicole as she’s been really busy recently at work so hasn’t had a chance to post on London Cyclist. I’ll send her a quick email over the weekend to see if we could welcome her back!

  3. Lindsey 19/11/2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Some of these will be great for the London to Brighton night ride in May… the flare has 75hr burn time!

  4. Pete 19/11/2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I think this combined rear light & reflector (they also do a front one):

    http://www.cateye.com/uk/products/detail/TL-LD570-R/

    is great if you want to stay legal but don’t want to have both. I have one of these on my racing bike which I generally avoid using in the dark but having this gives me flexibility in case it gets dark, I have a technical problem or just ride in gloomy conditions.

  5. Thomas Derstroff 19/11/2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I agree a combination of various types of lights on vehicle, bags, and clothing to maximise visibility is key to winter cycling. To top it off (literally, since I installed this to the back of my helmet), I purchased this extraterrestrial light: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-alienlux-led-rear-light-1/ which has already turned a few heads, and would certainly fit into the ‘unusual’ category.

    • Andreas 20/11/2011 at 12:53 am #

      That’s a cool little light! Is it fairly bright?

      • Thomas Derstroff 21/11/2011 at 6:49 pm #

        I would not use it as the primary rear light source, but it is bright enough as a spare. The alien head is about the size of a matchbox, so its eyes are small (about the size of an almond). The Alienlux is certainly more a gimmick than a safety feature.

  6. Cyclelogical 21/11/2011 at 4:44 pm #

    These are great for side reflection.
    http://www.cyclelogicalgear.com/products/reflective-chopspokes.html

  7. scouserinlondon 24/11/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    To be honest I disagree with Alice and opt for as much lighting as possible on my bike. London is terrible for light pollution and bad driving, which combine to give you a high risk of SMIDSY. I’d far rather look uncool and christmas tree like.

    My set up is:
    Front
    Hope 1 on the front, set to constant medium high brightness
    Blackburn flea on the front, set to flash.
    Fenix LD20 on my helmet set to low.

    Rear
    Smart Lunar R1 set to flash.
    Smart Lunar R2 set to pulse.

    I also have some of those 3m things on my spokes but they’re so dirty now.

    The rear lights are eye-wateringly bright, but I feel that drivers give me more room. The fenix on my head is excellent for alerting drivers to your presence. Partly because high up lights are unusual, but also because wherever I’m looking I’m shining light, which can be handy to alert cars pulling out of side streets that you’re there.

    Only once in two years of this set up has a motorist made a negative comment, but he was a WVM man and would have probably found another excuse to call me a Cee word if it weren’t my head torch.

  8. Chris 24/11/2011 at 2:05 pm #

    I use the valve lights mentioned, and think they are a really good value purchase. I got a pack of two from amazon for a fiver, and they really do add to side on visibility. I’ve also had several fellow cyclists question me about them at the lights, attesting to their usefulness. The fact that they only light up when in motion means you never have to worry about wether they are on or off, and whilst not a continous circle of light, they produce enough of a show to catch the eye of that taxi driver edging out of a side street

  9. Jozudave 25/11/2011 at 10:31 am #

    I’ve got a blue Fibre Flare and it does look nifty. But I actually bought it for the underside of my bike to illuminate the ground at the front of the bike. Unfortunately it doesn’t give off nearly enough light for that. So it’s a be-seen only light, it can’t light anything for you. Plus the attachment rubber wasn’t big enough to strectch around that tube anyway so I’ve placed it elsewhere. Some blue Valve wheel lights might go very well with it and only a fiver so a snip too. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Shades 25/11/2011 at 10:52 am #

    I bought a Fibreflare for the back of my bike but it didn’t fit right. I was about to take it back but had a good idea and connected it horizontally across the vents at the back of my helmet. The straps threaded easily through the vents. I’ve had the odd, ‘that’s a good idea’ comment; shame I can’t patent it!

  11. Greek Geeza 25/11/2011 at 11:39 am #

    I really want to experiment with a set of spoke POV lights. Check out these links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv0DX6EqfU8

    http://www.adafruit.com/products/19

    http://www.monkeylectric.com/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aneel/sets/72157607901134665/

  12. Sarah 22/11/2012 at 9:40 am #

    I was going to mention the same lights that Greek Geeza has mentioned. If they don’t count as unusual bike lights, I’m not sure what does!

    In addition to normal bike lights I have these:
    http://www.pedalite.com/more_about_pedalites.aspx

    The lights flash *very* brightly (I have good bike lights but these are far brighter). There are no batteries – they are powered by a dynamo (from the pedal turning), they start flashing if I just knock the pedals and they keep going for a long time after I stop. I only got them because I won them but I’ve been extremely impressed by them. They have a back (red), front (white) and side (yellow) light each. It’s also rather difficult to forget them (they’re always attached!) or for anyone to steal them.

  13. Simon 22/11/2012 at 10:26 am #

    Wow. I’m surprised no one has mentioned http://www.revolights.com.

    I’ve got a pair after pledging towards their startup on http://www.kickstarter.com and they are absolutely brilliant.

    • Jason 22/11/2012 at 11:52 am #

      Just wow.

      shame they’re so expensive but maybe the price will come down in the future.

      damn cool though!!

  14. Adam 22/11/2012 at 10:58 pm #

    I’ve been looking at the rear lights that have 2 small lazers that project 2 red lines onto the road. Not sure if they are any good.

  15. Andrew 20/03/2013 at 7:38 pm #

    I have the bike glow in yellow. Except the light isn’t really that bright. And it’s green.

    It’s good at improving side visibility but the electronics generate a high pitched whine which pulses on and off with the lights.

    You also need a small screwdriver to change the batteries.

    It’s a nice innovative product with a few rough edges – kind of feels a bit like a prototype or work-in-progress product to me. Good value mind you.

  16. Gordon 20/03/2013 at 7:42 pm #

    I used to use the fibre flare thought it was great till I tried Hope district+ rear light and have found that people give me loads more room when over taking, I also use Hope R4 front light and since using it drivers seem to wait rather than turn in front of me or pull out from side roads, I feel loads safer with these lights on my bike.

  17. Steph 21/03/2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Can I ask – are there any rules/guides about how bicyle lights are used on the roads? I have heard complaints from non cycling family members regarding the use flashing lights, and that they’re distracting to drivers?

    I tend to use steady lights unless in fog or rain which I assumed was the standard highway code practice. Any advice?

    • Angela 07/04/2013 at 7:56 pm #

      I used to think flashing mode for bike lights was silly until an oncoming car turned across my lane in front of me one rainy morning, which caused me to take a spill over the handlebars of my road bike. I left me mostly unharmed, but wondered if I’d been using my light in flashing mode if she might have seen me.

  18. Arron 14/06/2013 at 11:51 am #

    I say Good old fashioned Glow sticks. and celotape ;)

  19. Derek 22/02/2014 at 8:54 am #

    I have a Podio which gives you great sounding music and a good light.

    http://www.podio.com.tw/home.html

Leave a Reply